Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Fun With Ebay!

I'm not sure if I would qualify as a pioneer with eBay, but I did start buying and selling on eBay in 1998, not too long after the site started up. And over the years I've sold a lot of things on eBay, bought a lot of things on eBay and bid a million dollars worth of stuff up even though I didn't win it. I've made a lot of money for eBay and its owners.

Yet, every time I've had a question or a problem, eBay is little or no help. I'm convinced that the customer service people just scan the messages, pick out a key word and focus on that. Normally the answer has nothing to do with the question or the problem. And once they start pointing you in a certain direction, no amount of prodding will get them to reverse course.

As an example of just how bad the customer service is at eBay, I will present you the following email exchange, unedited except for deleting unnecessary headers and text. As a sort of background on this exchange, I had bought a small collection of Zippo cigarette lighters with the intention of selling them on eBay. Now, eBay is rife with fake Viet Nam engraved Zippos, most actually coming from Viet Nam. But these are just regular lighters with no Viet Nam related engraving, so what's the problem?

Well, eBay lets me list one and then tells me that I have to be paypal verified (read as "link my bank account to an unregulated financial institution" - no thanks!)in order to list a second lighter. So, trying to figure out what the problem is, I send a message to eBay asking why it's doing this. I mean, really, I've listed lots of other stuff that has horrible fakes on eBay including a collection of authentic Egyptian artifacts. Try finding ones that AREN'T fake on eBay!

Without further ado, here's the exchange:

December 8, 2006
Message: I am trying to list an item (Zippo Lighter) and I get an error message that tells me that I must be verified through Paypal to list this item. I don't have a paypal account and I do NOT WANT a Paypal account, I do NOT wish to link my bank account information with anything on the internet. So what do I do to fix this? I was able to list another lighter earlier without any problems. Please let me know soon.
Thanks

Greg

(response)
Dear Greg,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to the difficulty you are experiencing while listing you item on the eBay site.

We would like to provide as much assistance as possible to resolve the issue as quickly as possible. However, in order to do this, we would require some more information before proceeding in this matter.

1. The exact steps that you are taking while listing the item.

2. Any error message that are getting while listing the item.

3. The item description and the category that you are selecting while listing the item.

4. Any other information that you can provide to resolve the issue as quickly as possible.

Okay, my response:
1. The exact steps that you are taking while listing the item. Answer: I was at the “submit listing” point.

2. Any error message that are getting while listing the item. Answer: Attention Seller:

In order to maintain a safe trading environment, selling limits are occasionally placed on accounts. Your eBay account has been restricted from listing this item at this time until you have verified through PayPal.

1) To verify your PayPal account, click on your country of eBay registration below to understand how to complete that process.

2) If you already have a verified PayPal account, and are still receiving this message, you need to link it to your eBay account.

For instructions on how to become PayPal Verified or how to link your PayPal account to your eBay account, please click on the site of your eBay registration below:

Australia | Austria | Belgium - French | Belgium - Dutch | Canada | France | Germany | India | Ireland | Italy | Malaysia | Netherlands | Philippines | Poland | Singapore | Spain | Sweden | Switzerland | United Kingdom | United States

We sincerely value you as a member of our trading community and look forward to a continued successful relationship.

Click here for a window with eBay's policy on replica or counterfeit items

3. The item description and the category that you are selecting while

listing the item. Answer:



A decent used lighter showing wear on the high spots. Date code on the bottom puts it made in 1966.







Scratches and wear as indicated in scans, this is not an "as new" lighter. But it is all there and operable.



Shipping to anywhere in the United States by Priority Mail/Delivery Confirmation is only $5.00. I can stick it into a padded bag and mail it to you that way for only $3.00 if you specify.

Category: Collectibles > Tobacciana > Lighters > Zippo > Other (#952)

4. Any other information that you can provide to resolve the issue as

quickly as possible.

Then, on December 27 (3 weeks later) I emailed again:
I responded to this email several weeks ago and have heard nothing more from you. Is this what you consider customer service?

Greg

And, their response:
Dear Greg,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to trouble you're having when listing your item on eBay.

First, please allow me to apologize for the delay in response time and any inconvenience this may have caused. We appreciate your patience and understanding. I do see that we received your previous email and I have reviewed the information you sent at that time.

In order to resolve the issue you are having you will need to become PayPal Verified. eBay members who have taken the step to be PayPal Verified have confirmed their identity by completing the required steps to become Verified. The Verification process is a way for PayPal to gain additional proof of a member's identity in conjunction with our own eBay authentication methods. This higher level of verification is designed to reduce fraud and will make it more difficult for counterfeiters to list those items on eBay.

Note: eBay does not require sellers to offer PayPal for these items.

There are two ways to get PayPal Verified:

- Add and confirm a bank account
- Get approved for a PayPal Plus Credit Card

***Add and confirm a back account***
1. Log In to your PayPal account.
2. Go to your profile and add and confirm your bank account.
3. Once you have completed the process, please update your PayPal account by selecting "My Account", then "Profile", then "Selling Preferences" and choose "Auctions".
4. Click on "Add" and enter your eBay User ID.

***Get approved for a PayPal Plus Credit Card*** To apply for a PayPal Plus Credit Card, click the "Plus Card" link at the bottom of any PayPal page.

I understand your frustration regarding this matter and apologize for the inconvenience it caused you.

Sincerely,
Christina C. A.

eBay Customer Support

To which I replied:
Why do I need to be paypal verified to sell certain items on eBay? I know there are a lot of fake viet nam Zippos on eBay, this hasn't stopped that, but the Zippos I'm trying to sell aren't even close. I cannot link my bank account information to an unregulated financial entity and do not want one of their credit cards. I've never had a problem listing any other item, have flawless feed back, have been a seller on eBay longer than most of you have worked there (since '98) and should be able to list more than one Zippo lighter at a time without having to give my financial information.
Please help me resolve this problem. Thanks

greg

To which they finally replied:
Dear Greg,

Thank you for writing back to eBay regarding the Paypal Verified requirements for certain brands and types of items.

Please again understand that only the verification process is required.
You do not have to accept Paypal on these items, nor ever use your Paypal account for any reason. However if you fail to go through this verification process, you will not be able to list the items.

I have provided the steps for you below for both options. Only one of those would be required.

***Add and confirm a back account***
1. Log In to your PayPal account.
2. Go to your profile and add and confirm your bank account.
3. Once you have completed the process, please update your PayPal account by selecting "My Account", then "Profile", then "Selling Preferences" and choose "Auctions".
4. Click on "Add" and enter your eBay User ID.

***Get approved for a PayPal Plus Credit Card*** To apply for a PayPal Plus Credit Card, click the "Plus Card" link at the bottom of any PayPal page.

Again, if you do not complete either of those two requirements, you will not be able to list the items at this time.

Thank you again for writing to us and for giving me this opportunity to further address your concerns. Best of luck with your future transactions on eBay!

Sincerely,
Matthew M.

eBay Customer Support

Notice that they only tell me how to link my bank account information to their scam unregulated paypal account. So, now I really want an answer. A real answer.
From: Circa Bellum
To: eBay Customer Support
Subject: RE: GS=C11008 The problem you're having with registering isn't
listed [ 05019T ?01 ] (KMM66397419V47377L0KM)

You did not answer my question about why you are requiring this for this particular item. In fact none of you have responded to any of my questions other than to tell me that I have to link my bank account info to list these items. I want to know what the reason is. Can you send my question to someone higher up who knows something?

I've been selling on ebay since 1998 and have never encountered this. I sell a lot of items (real ones, I might add) that are in categories rife with fakes. I realize that viet nam Zippos are faked and sold on eBay a LOT. These are not pretending to be those. I recently sold a collection of Egyptian artifacts. Talk about a category that is crawling with fakes, yet I was able to list 20 and 30 items at a time.

Only being able to list one item at a time is hurting both me and ebay on the income aspect since having multiple items out at once lends credibility and gets more bids.

Again, I will not furnish my bank account information to ebay (paypal) or anyone else on the internet. I have a credit card on file with ebay, that should be enough.

Now, will you please give me the courtesy of an answer to my question?

Getting more than irritated...
greg


One would think that at this point a real person would answer my email with something other than the party line about getting verified with paypal.

Dear Greg,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to being PayPal verified to sell items on eBay.

To help you as quickly and efficiently as possible, I've forwarded your email directly to a PayPal representative. We do this to ensure the security of your PayPal account information.

When you have PayPal inquiries, you'll get answers faster if you contact PayPal Customer Service directly. To reach PayPal Customer Service, log into your account and send a secure email through the following Web
page:

https://www.paypal.com/ewf/f=default

Please understand that you need to get your PayPal account verify that is currently linked to eBay. Once you do this you will certainly be able to list your item without further problems.

To which I tersely replied:
From: Circa Bellum
To: eBay Customer Support
Subject: RE: GS=C11008 The problem you're having with registering isn't
listed [ 05019T ?01 ] (KMM66604172V10318L0KM)

You don't even read the questions, do you?

Which elicited the following response, proving once again, that they don't even read the questions, do they?
Dear Greg,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to being PayPal verified.

Firstly, please accept my apology for the delay in sending the response.

In an effort to help you as quickly and efficiently as possible, I've forwarded your email directly to a PayPal representative. We do this to ensure the security of your PayPal account information.

When you have PayPal inquiries, you'll get answers faster if you contact PayPal Customer Service directly. To reach PayPal Customer Service, log into your account and send a secure email through the following Web
page:

https://www.paypal.com/ewf/f=default

We are committed to making your eBay experiences pleasant and fulfilling.

Sincerely,
Claire Z.

eBay Customer Support

So, I have to see how far this goes, and I reply:
OKAY, let me say this as simply as I can possibly state this. You don't seem to understand the question. I know how to get paypal verified.
You've
explained that to me 3 times and it was very clear before I ever asked the question in the first place. I repeat: I will not link my bank account info to eBay (paypal) not now, not ever.
HERE'S THE QUESTION: why does a zippo lighter require paypal
verification to list and other objects don't. I WANT MY QUESTION ANSWERED , YOU OWE ME THAT MUCH.
I'M GETTING MORE THAN A LITTLE PERTURBED WITH YOUR STUPID RESPONSES THAT DO NOT ADDRESS THE QUESTION. If you do not have a sufficient grasp of the English language to understand the question, please, for God's sake, send the question to someone higher up in your organization who can actually give something beyond a canned response. No more robots...
g

Which finally elicited a response from someone who actually read the question. hey, it only took a month!
Dear Greg,

Thank you for writing eBay in regard to your concerns selling your Zippo Lighter item(s).

The reason you've been required to become PayPal verified is because eBay is committed to reducing fraud and negative buying experiences on the site, and the sale of counterfeits on eBay is wrong, violates our business ethics, and results in negative buying experiences. Be assured that you do not need to use PayPal as an payment method to sell your item; this is for verification only.

The problem of counterfeits is not just an eBay problem. Counterfeits plague the brick-and-mortar retail industry, as well as the rest of e-commerce in general. Counterfeits are illegal. It is a criminal act to manufacture them, and it is a criminal act to knowingly sell them. Every time a buyer on eBay purchases a counterfeit item, the whole eBay marketplace pays a price. Trust is the fuel that powers trade on our site. Counterfeits erode the trust that is so essential  and this hurts all of us.

Reducing negative buying experiences from counterfeits and other fraud will help increase buyer trust, resulting in greater loyalty and purchasing activity for legitimate sellers. We know that initiatives to combat fraud will cause inconveniences for legitimate sellers, but you will also benefit from increased buyer demand for legitimate goods.

It is my pleasure to assist you. Thank you for choosing eBay.

Sincerely,
William L.

eBay Customer Support





2 comments:

MrsJoseGoldbloom said...

Wow I can't believe how long it took to get an actual answer to your question. It sounds like ebay is slipping a little bit, they used to be pretty good about helping their sellers out. You think they'd be a little more helpful to the people who are paying their salaries.

Catfish said...

Ebay and Paypal are owned by the same company now. Both of them suck. I have been screwed by both of them many times. I will not use them anymore.